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MSG is like the omnipresent ingredient in almost all recipes. It is a potent purveyor of umami that helps boost flavor in our food and increase salivary flow.
If you watch your sodium intake, MSG might be your go-to option. But what if you don’t have it on hand?
You can still skip it.
I would say you skip it since it doesn’t bring many benefits to your dishes.
You could enjoy much healthier meals if you use any of these MSG seasoning substitutes, such as Beef stock, Soy Sauce, Parmesan Cheese, Dulse, and many more we will discuss on this page.
12 Best MSG Seasoning Substitutes
This article provides you with plenty of options, which are healthier and everyday items in the kitchen.
However, if you wish to know what MSG is and its mystery taste, endeavor to check our article on what accent seasoning tastes like.
Let’s dive into the MSG seasoning substitutes.
1. Beef Stock
While other types of stock could swap for MSG, the beef one tends to be the best for seasoning. Beef stock is a fantastic MSG seasoning substitute; only you will have to use more of it to make the taste pop.
It is an extract from beef bones with some herbs and spices boiled in water. And On it is more nutritious and meaty flavored.
The beef stock has minimal salt content, making it an ideal option if you’re watching your sodium intake. Get the beef stock cubes and add one cube per dish for an easy swap.
You can use it to boost some intensity to your braises, sauces, gravies, stews, and other recipes. Either you prepare it at home or buy it already made from the grocery store.
Notice beef cubes have MSG, so if you’re considering avoiding it altogether, you either stick to the homemade beef stock or find the one that doesn’t have MSG.
2. Soy Sauce
MSG occurs naturally in soy sauce. It is like the byproduct of producing soy sauce.
Hence it will make a good MSG seasoning substitute for salads, cooked dishes and be added directly to cold specialties.
Soy sauce might have loads of taste, from salty, moderate umami, sweet, slightly bitter.
However, keep in mind that saltiness is predominant. So use it in small quantities.
They come in a different brand; find what works best for you.
3. Parmesan Cheese
Of course, parmesan cheese will make a great alternative to MSG.
Don’t you know MSG naturally occurs in this cheese-like mushrooms and tomatoes?
According to the International Food Information Council Foundation: “a 2-tbsp of parmesan cheese contains 0.05 g MSG.”
Moreover, parmesan cheese is a delicious and decadent substitute packed with flavors. It is even much healthier than MSG.
The cheese is Italian and made with premium quality cow milk.
Unlike the tasteless MSG, parmesan has a fruity and nutty taste, with traces of bitterness.
It works amazingly well in most Italian dishes such as risotto, pasta, and pizza. But you can also use it in soups, stews, omelets, and even salads.
4. Cheddar Cheese
Still, on cheese, cheddar cheese is another option with a luscious flavor.
It will serve as a flavor-enhancing additive in the lonely days of MSG.
Moreover, it contains more Monosodium glutamate, making it preferable to parmesan.
Cheddar cheese is flavorful, creamy, and firm, although the older version of fermentation, the better the taste.
Despite that, you can use any type in various ways: eat raw with fruits, grated as a garnish for soups, stews, or salads.
You can also top it on pizzas, casserole, or sliced for sandwiches.
Using this edible salty seaweed will also heighten your meals’ flavors significantly. Once you try this alternative, you might want to keep using it in the future.
Unfortunately, it is more prevalent in Asian dishes and easily found in Asian markets or stores. You can use it raw to salads, slaw, tartare, pesto, pickles, tapenade, or dressings.
Try cooking it in fish pies, soups, chowder, stews, or add as a garnish to vegetables and fish. Aside from that, you can sauté in butter, but if I were you, I would leave it out of desserts.
Use it the same quality as MSG, as adding too much of it will make the ocean flavor strong.
6. Yeast Extract
You could try yeast extract in place of MSG in most recipes. Like MSG, it contains some naturally occurring glutamate. But it might not be as much as MSG.
The significant difference between both products in foods is their flavors. MSG is neutral; it doesn’t have an actual flavor. It is only a typical flavor enhancer, like salt.
Yeast extract behaves like spice; it adds flavor to foods. Regardless, it performs the MSG duty — though, with a neutral savory taste, it can add and bring out flavors in your dressings, soups, and stews.
You can quickly get them in most grocery stores for quite an affordable price. Don’t worry the salty umami flavor isn’t dominant. You won’t even taste it in your recipes. But it SURE will enhance all the other flavors in your dish.
Your jaw dropped, right?
While mushrooms might seem like a ridiculous choice, you might be surprised how some mushrooms can amplify the flavors of your meals.
Still not convinced?
You don’t know that many home cooks and pro chefs are turning to mushroom seasoning instead of MSG for that tasty Umami flavor.
Aside from being high natural Glutamate with a staggering amount of nutrients, it is SAFER to consume as a glutamate product, unlike MSG that is excitotoxic.
More importantly, as a culinary seasoning, it is versatile in a way you can sprinkle it on just about everything.
But they will satisfy any sweet tooth more in use in stews, soups, and salads.
Anchovies are another substitutable flavor enhancer you can use if you don’t have MSG in the kitchen.
It has some glutamate in it, giving it the longitude and latitude to provide that umami taste to foods and provoke the rest of the ingredients in your dish.
Although you should be careful while using this product, it is pretty salty, and many chefs will advise you to skip the salt whenever you add Anchovies.
You can use this delicious fish product in your favorite sauces or as a topping for pasta and pizza.
The fishy and salty flavor goes well in sandwiches with several other recipes.
Salt is an essential replacement for MSG. This one is a no-brainer.
Sadly, salt contains higher sodium content, which might not be the best intake for someone looking to cut down sodium in their meals.
But on the flip side, they work pretty well with all recipes. You just have to add them according to your taste.
Also, which kitchen runs out of salt, an everyday staple?
You are most likely to have it in stock. So whenever you don’t have the MSG in stock, a pinch of salt will save the day.
They act as an activator in both cooked and cold meals equally.
10. Oyster Sauce
Oyster sauce is a great choice, but it has its fair share of love and hate.
While it might not be everyone’s favorite, if you happen to like it, you have just found a reliable buddy that will boost the flavor of your meal.
However, the Oyster sauce is quite picky because it comes in different flavors.
You can use Oyster sauce to add a “savory” flavor to various meat, noodle stir-fries, and vegetable dishes.
11. Flavored Oil
This cooking oil is another fantastic msg seasoning substitute. If you want to give your salad a tasty boost, flavored oil is all you need. It could be flavored sesame oil, sunflower oil, or any other type of oil.
You can drizzle it over soups, dip for good bread, and in vinaigrettes.
But one thing is sure:
Flavored oil will make your food have a distinct taste, as it comes with chili, garlic, and even mushroom flavors.
12. Herb Mix
This standard mix of dried herbs is MORE THAN ready for use whenever MSG is not at home.
And you will love it because it is common, and it blends wonderfully well in your omelet, bread, dessert, pasta sauces, soups, stews, and even salad dressings.
Don’t worry about the taste, as it gives a rich and MORE satisfying flavor.
It is easy to make at home or buy them already made in a nearby grocery store.
So, while MSG can help boost the flavor of your food, you shouldn’t rush to the market to stock up on MSG.
With the ample MSG seasoning substitutes galivanting on this page, you don’t need to beat yourself up whenever you are running out.
Remember, MSG doesn’t bring even the tiniest nutrition to your body.
So for a healthier alternative, you can pick from the above options to intensify the flavor of your food.